Tuesday, July 11, 2006

House Proud

So we finally gave in and replaced the grey mottled mess of puke poop and food soaked rag we called our carpet. Since the kids are still hurling food (Sophie for fun, Will as a signal that he is done), we decided to go for laminate flooring. It looks like wood, it sounds like wood, but it is durable and cleans really easily. I am still getting used to it, it definitely makes the house echo a bit, which was not something I expected. But it looks great, and the effort to clear out stuff in order for the floor to be layed, has given us a chance to rearrange things, and purge ourselves of some clutter. That always feels good.
But there is a dark side to home renovation. As soon as you get rid of one eyesore others stand out more strikingly. The walls need painting, the furniture is sagging and drab, the linoleum in the bathrooms is dated and ugly, etc.. Keep in mind we've been in this house for five years with virtually no changes apart from some baby related things.
Sitting in our sunroom, we noticed how barren the windows look, we removed the window shades early into Carly's first pregnancy for reasons we can't remember. So, we decided to get some window shades. We chatted a little about what we'd like there. Packed up the kids, drove to World Market (Cost Plus). We were in and out in 15 minutes. Having squirming kids in a stroller does wonders for ones ability to make quick permanent choices.
We were able to get the blinds up over two days (keep mind, all of work must be completely in the few hours without kids running about). They look good. It was a little odd that the hardware seemed not to fit our window frames well. Instead of being connected by eight screws, the valences hang by only four. Hopefully, that will work. I am frequently frustrated by our house's apparant 'custom' design, with doorways, and window-frames and other standard things in non-standard sizes. (like our bathrooms an inch narrower than standard bathrooms). But, all in all we really love the place. So you make do.
We broke down and got a Swiffer to clean the new floors. I just like saying "Swiffer" and using it as a verb "To Swiffer." Carly is also fond of swiffering. That sounds so dirty.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Goodbye GG

My grandmother died today. It wasn't a surprise. But it hits pretty hard nonetheless. My last attempted phonecall was an awkward thing. She didn't answer, and I left a rather obtuse message, something along of lines of "heard you weren't feeling well, just wanted to say hello, hope you are well, love you." What can you say to answering machine you can't be sure will ever be heard, or if it is heard will probably be heard by someone else, and maybe passed on to her in a state of semi-lucidity. When I left it, I was somewhat relieved. I wasn't sure I wanted to try to talk with her, especially if she was having trouble mentally. Now, I wish she had lasted a little longer so I could convey my affection and love somehow other than over the phone.
I was wondering how I would feel when it happened. My mom's parents died before I could really appreciate the loss, her father when I was a toddler, her mother 3,000 miles away when I was an adolescent. My grandfather died just after college, but his death was after years of pitiable illnesses, and despite spending some adult time with him, we were never close. It was almost a relief when he died, a merciful end to a lot of suffering.
I wish I could view Betty's death that way. But I can't. Last time I saw her, she was spry and together. She was engaged in witty conversation, and able to climb stairs, feed herself and do everything we expect of her. She was very much the woman I've grown to love and admire for these many years. Indefatigable. Of course, I had heard the accounts of my parents and siblings, who living closer to her, saw her decline. But, I wasn't witness to them myself.
I often wonder how I would deal with the death of someone close. I haven't really had to experience it. Would I affect sorrow and tears even though deep down I wasn't bothered? I worried about this. Was I too logical, too practical to be struck by the death of someone close? Was I too distant, too independent to really care? I felt sometimes like Meursault from Camus's L'Etranger. "Mother died today, or was it yesterday." But it was all pretty speculative.
Today, coming home from the park and lunch with the family is when I got the call on my cellphone. And without bidding or thought, the tears came. Not a torrent, but gentle and persistent. There is a hole in me, and emptiness. So. I guess I am not so cold and emotionless as I thought.
She was a wonderful woman, brave, and adventurous. She always seemed to genuinely thrilled to see me, to hear of my life, and to enjoy my children. She will be missed.